When school starts, so does homework and with it, the endless “discussion” of finishing homework.
Older children can do their homework in a study or their bedrooms while younger ones tend to need a little more supervision. Where ever your kids are working on their assignments, it’s important to create a workable space. In our house, my kids do their homework at the kitchen table. To keep the homework area organized and make sure the assignments are finished with minimal fuss, I have developed four homework tips we follow.
Tip 1: Designate Homework Time
In our house, homework time begins when we get home, either from school or after school activities. My kids know that first thing they come in, grab a snack and something to drink and sit down at the table. We go over what homework they have and how long we think it will take…and then we get started.
Tip 2: Create A Homework Bag or Homework Supply Cabinet
Even though both my kids have desks in their rooms, I have found they prefer to do their homework at the kitchen table; the only issue with that is I want to be able to use the kitchen table for other things. So, I created the Homework Bag. I use an old gym bag that has lots of pockets. I gathered everything I could possibly think of that they might need for completing their homework. Paper, pens, pencils, a calculator, erasers- you get the idea. Everything has a place in the bag so that the kids know exactly where something is when they need it and they don’t procrastinate by looking for a pencil or eraser. They also know where to put the items when it’s time to clean up. This way, they have all the tools to complete their homework, and when they are finished, I have a clean table.
We also have a Homework Supply Cabinet. This is a small cabinet in the hall, right off the kitchen, where we keep extra supplies. I like to keep it extremely organized so there is no dilly dallying if they need to get something from it. I use containers to corral all the supplies but keep them in plain view. Old cans are great pen and pencil holders. Plastic drawer units house glue, tape and other small items while a shoe box holds more colored pencils then any child needs. We keep a dictionary and thesaurus on the shelf for quick reference and a supply of note cards is always next to them.
Tip 3: Homework Folder
At the beginning of homework time get out the homework folder (this can be just a manila envelope or something fancier). I use a manila envelope and each day I staple a printed list of the subjects my child is studying at school to the front. Before they start their homework we read over the list and cross off any subjects that don’t have assignments that night. Once they finish their homework assignment for a certain subject they put it in the folder and cross of the subject from the list. This way we make sure that all the assigned homework is completed and in one easy to find place.
Tip 4: Limit Distraction and Noise
Whether your child is doing their homework in their room or in a family space, make sure that the area is as free from distraction and noise as possible. Keep the television off and the ambient noise to a minimum. I personally look at homework time as my homework time as well. I do not answer the phone in the kitchen and I try to hold off on using the mixer or other loud appliances. Instead, I use the time to catch up on correspondence, pay bills, or read the paper at the table with my kids. This way we are all working together, quietly, to get our assignments finished.
What are your tips for creating an organized homework experience?